2012-07-10 17:51:45 by jdixon
Graphite is renowned for its usefulness and ease for prototyping new charts. It's also known for having a dashboard component that leaves much to be desired. In response the community has seen a rising tide of new dashboard projects aimed at filling this gap. The growing list of third-party Graphite dashboard projects is extensive, but continues to fall short in areas such as self-service, configuration, and collaboration.
Most of this software require users to generate dashboards from JSON or other command-line gymnastics. While this is reasonable for many operations folk, it's an impedance for the engineers and business-oriented users; the same users that we want using this software for making sound decisions. Graph views are static and inflexible for collaboration and historical dialogues. In response to these shortcomings I've started the Descartes project.
Descartes is not yet beta software. It's not even alpha. Decartes is at the pupal stage of evolution, limited in scope and functionality. It does very little in relation to what I have planned for it. What does it do, you ask?
- Import saved graphs from Graphite
- Select pre-defined time ranges
- Select pre-defined grid layouts
- Filter on tags (currently limited to graph names)
- Create dashboards from views / filtered views
Better yet, watch this brief screencast I made that demonstrates the features above in illustrious high-def You-Tubery. I strongly suggest watching it in fullscreen to get a better look at the layout controls.
I have lofty expectations for what Descartes can become. Planned enhancements are documented here. Note, however, that this list is not exhaustive. I will continue to add new issues as I tunnel through Decartes' workflow and identify rough spots and potential nice-to-haves.
If you would like to try Decartes out for yourself, by all means please do so. However, I ask kindly that you refrain from opening issues for new enhancements or questionable bugs. Once the project has matured to a point where I feel it can be recommended for the average Graphite installation I will announce it publicly and prepare myself for the onslaught of requests. For now I ask for your patience and understanding.
Note: Descartes currently relies on Google OpenID for authentication and identity (e.g. graph owners). Fortunately it works fine with Google Apps; I use this with my own personal Apps domain. There is an open issue tracking support for HTTP Basic Auth.
Lastly, I would like to thank Heroku for their initial sponsorship of this project. Descartes was the focus of my final days there, and they've graciously allowed me to open source the project. The application was developed on the Heroku platform and will continue to be supported for it; there simply isn't an easier, more developer-friendly way to host web applications. If you want to run your own Descartes app I highly encourage you to give Heroku a try.
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